Single molecule mechanical manipulation for studying biological properties of proteins, DNA, and sugars
Version of Record online: 17 DEC 2013
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology
Volume 6, Issue 3, pages 211–229, May/June 2014
How to Cite
Scholl, Z. N., Li, Q. and Marszalek, P. E. (2014), Single molecule mechanical manipulation for studying biological properties of proteins, DNA, and sugars. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol, 6: 211–229. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1253
- Issue online: 11 APR 2014
- Version of Record online: 17 DEC 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 10 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Received: 20 AUG 2013
- National Science Foundation. Grant Number: MCB-1052208
For over 20 years there has been immense biological insight gained using single molecule mechanical measurements to understand properties of biomolecules. This review outlines the field of single molecule mechanics studies and focuses on the manipulation of proteins, DNA, and sugars by single molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The methods and examples of SMFS by AFM are illustrated using recent advances in protein science including titin elasticity, mechanical unfolding and refolding of α-helical repeat proteins, mechanoenzymatics of thioredoxin and titin kinase, and intermolecular interactions of P-selectin complexes. The possibilities of SMFS to investigate the mechanics of other biopolymers like double- and single-stranded DNA and forced-induced conformational changes in sugars are also discussed. Finally, SMFS and its application to biological processes, like DNA replication, packing and transcription, and DNA methylation are illustrated. These measurements provide a unique and integral part of the development of our knowledge of biochemistry and molecular mechanics.
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Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.